Christmas changes everything

Pencil Preaching for Sunday, December 5, 2021

"All flesh shall see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:6).

Bar 5:1-9; Ps 126; Phil 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6

Second Sunday of Advent

Luke locates the Christ event in history with his detailed description of all the earthly powers in place, from Tiberias Caesar on the throne in Rome to Caiphas, the high priest in Jerusalem, when John the Baptist began his preaching in the Judean wilderness by the Jordan River. These earthly powers will pay little attention to a voice in the wilderness announcing that God was entering history with a Word that would change everything forever.

God's visible appearance in the world was not an idea but a fact, a pulse felt in the bloodstream, bone, breath and DNA of the human race, a mysterious but palpable surge in the anthropological purpose of creation itself. The Word made flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth had slipped quietly into the story in a far corner of the empire, living a hidden life until he appeared on the shore of the Jordan to fulfill John's words, quoting Isaiah the Prophet: "All flesh will see the salvation of our God."

Our belief in the mystery of the Incarnation -- God among us -- is the linchpin and starting point of our own journey as human beings. From our baptism to the day we die, the life of the Christ within us will define every aspect of our lives. Jesus is about us, who we are and who we are becoming each day as we respond to the graces that flow in our veins, the desires alive in our hearts, the purposes that animate our hands and feet, our faces turned toward the world in wonder and gratitude.

St, Irenaeus reminds us that "the glory of God is a human being fully alive." More important than Rome, religion, monarchies and all earthly tribunals is a single human being living in the presence of God, mind, soul, heart and body, eager to do God's will, joyful to be an instrument of God's love. This is our invitation now as members of the body of Christ, alive in the world and in the future we are helping to create by filling in the valleys of want and leveling the mountains of injustice, making straight the path for God's coming.

We rejoice to be Advent people, filled with wonder and longing for what is and what is to come. Something wonderful has happened and continues to happen in us and in everyone and everything.  "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy" (Psalm 126, responsorial psalm for the Second Sunday of Advent).

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Consider adding to this short meditation a more comprehensive and challenging reflection on today’s Advent readings by Mary McGlone on the NCR site:  https://www.ncronline.org/news/spirituality/scripture-life/second-sunday-advent-take-road-transformation


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